Polyphenol potential to counteract age-related epigenetic changes

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

© David Malan / Getty Images
© David Malan / Getty Images

Related tags Polyphenols

A new review highlights the potential of polyphenol-rich compounds to counteract age-related epigenetic alterations associated with increased disease risk through microbiome modulation.

Published in the journal Nutrients, the​ systematic review noted that the significant anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-modulatory activities of polyphenols also demonstrated key benefits for age-related conditions.

“There is a growing focus on how the microbiota can initiate epigenetic adjustments, with polyphenolic compounds potentially holding the key to counteracting these age-related epigenetic changes,” the Brazilian researchers wrote. “While the data in this domain are still evolving, these insights underscore the urgency of delving deeper into the effects of polyphenolic compounds in concert with intestinal microbiota modulation throughout the aging process.”

They added that the intricate interplay between polyphenolic compounds and the gut microbiota is promising for addressing dysbiosis and its associated epigenetic nuances, with "a potential for pioneering nutritional interventions aimed at combatting the intricate biological effects of aging.” 

The microbiome and aging

Vulnerability to various pathologies significantly increases with age due to the gradual functional deterioration of cells, tissues and organs, resulting in a decline in physiological integrity. A range of aging characteristics include genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alternations, mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic inflammation.

Well-balanced bacterial populations within the microbiome are associated with the healthy production and synthesis of beneficial compounds such as vitamins, amino acids and metabolites necessary for the activities of epigenetic enzymes. Dysbiosis of the microbiome is known to affect nutrient absorption​ and immune system modulation.

The present review investigated the mechanisms influencing the intestinal microbiota throughout the aging process while exploring the potential of polyphenols to promote a balanced microbiota.

Age and the microbiome

Research has identified that the aging process triggers significant biological shifts that in turn impact the intestinal microbiota, resulting in potential alterations to the proportions of microbial phyla including Firmicutes, Bacteriodetes, Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria.

Various dietary regimes drive epigenetic responses, which play a vital role in the complex communications between the microbiome and host health. Polyphenols have been spotlighted for their potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory activities, linking their consumption with the prevention of a range of diseases through their interaction with the microbiome.

The review highlighted the potential of polyphenols to counteract age-related epigenetic changes by modulating the microbiome and addressing age-related inflammation, neuroinflammation and other age-related ailments.

Specifically, polyphenols were noted to result in the increase of proportions of Fircumutes/Bacterioidetes, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus ​while improving intestinal permeability. The inhibition of inflammatory mediator genes such as p16, p21, IL1β, IL6 and TNFα were also found to prevent inflammatory conditions.

The review underline notable polyphenol-rich compounds including curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and resveratrol, noting their significant microbiome modulatory activities and resulting influence over the epigenetic profile of the host.

The researchers concluded that the findings suggest the significant potential for polyphenols to inhibit age-related epigenetic changes as a result of its interaction with the gut microbiome and called for further studies to explore the mechanisms of action behind the interaction between polyphenols and the microbiome


Source: Nutrients
doi: 10.3390/nu16071066
“Polyphenolic Compounds: Orchestrating Intestinal Microbiota Harmony during Aging”
Authors: Quélita Cristina Pereira et al.

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